Accident Database

Report ID# 116148

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water

Accident Description

Two men who drowned on Arkansas River identified

From The Pueblo Chieftain

On June 6, 2022 Stefano Pezzella, 37, of Quincy, Ill., was rafting with friends on a private raft in the Royal Gorge. This was a 2 boat trip, his raft carried 3 people.  He was passing through Sunshine Rapid when his boat flipped at around 3 p.m., throwing him into the water. He attempted to swim through a rapid known as "Sledge Hammer," according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “His two friends who were in the boat with him made it to the shore, but he did not,” Commercial rafting guides who happened to be nearby attempted CPR and used an automated external defibrillator on him after he was pulled from the water. Emergency medical technicians also rendered aid but could not save his life. He was pronounced dead around 3:40 p.m.  

Fremont County Coroner Randy Keller noted that the Arkansas River recently has been running "rather high."

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